Episode 1.21 Many Happy Endings
Flashback – Reese is in bed with his girlfriend, Jessica. We then see a montage of images – her and Reese at the airport, him talking to her before the fateful mission to retrieve the laptop that we saw last week, Kara shooting him, and finally him on a bus, with blood on his shirt and several day’s growth of beard, looking devastated. A young boy asks him if he is okay, and he tells him “I think I quit my job”. We find out that this scene took place in February 2011 as we jump back to the present day.
Reese is in the batcave, reading a book (Stress Fractures in Titanium), when Finch arrives and tells him that he has the day off – no number. And it just so happens that Finch knows that it’s Reese’s birthday. He gives Reese a small box with a ribbon and tells him to go do whatever he normally does. Once Reese leaves, Finch does a social security number search (so he lied about the number!) and comes up with one Karen Garner.
Apparently what Reese does when he’s not on a number is sit in the park and play chess with an elderly Asian man. Reese opens the box from Finch – inside is one gold key. He goes back to his crappy apartment, listens to a baseball game, and waits for his phone to ring.
Agent Donnelly approaches Carter with an update on his investigation into Reese. He has tied Reese (or so he thinks) to the suspected murder of a real estate developer. He asks Carter to be part of the team investigating this new lead. She tells him that she’ll get back to him after she thinks about it.
Finch calls Carter and they meet at a dive bar (Finch looks very uncomfortable!). Carter tells him about Donnelly and asks what she should do. Finch encourages her to go along, so if she finds any evidence against Reese, she can take care of it. She’s not all that happy about the suggestion that she tamper with evidence in a federal investigation, but doesn’t fight Finch too much about it. She leaves and the waitress approaches the table – she bears quite a resemblance to one Karen Garner. Karen has a criminal record, but the name seems to be a recent alias. Finch enlists Fusco to look into Karen and forbids him from contacting Reese.
February 2011 – Reese is at a hospital, looking for Jessica, who used to work there. An employee tells him that she died two months earlier in a car accident. She offers him her husband Peter’s number.
Carter and Donnelly at a nice house in New Rochelle, in the suburbs. The owner ended up over his head financially and got involved in some loan sharks, then disappeared. His wife died in a car accident about two months before his disappearance. They are assuming he is dead based on the amount of blood that was found in the home. Carter points out that Reese isn’t usually so sloppy, but Donnely thinks this may have been his first job (Really? He knows Reese is ex-CIA!). Carter asks to talk to the local PD, who give her a copy of the case file.
Fusco is tailing Karen on her way to work, but she gives him the slip. Finch heads to the bar and asks the bartender about her. He tells him that Karen called out sick. A man overhears him ask and follows him out of the bar. He introduces himself as a federal marshal. Karen Garner = Sarah Atkins. He calls Finch on his bluff that he’s her neighbor. As Finch tries to figure out how to respond, Reese walks up, badges the marshal, and introduces himself as being Detective Stills from organized crime. He explains that Finch is his CI and he is risking blowing his cover. Reese escorts Finch to a car, and they go back to the batcave.
Reese confronts him – is he working a case without him? Finch fills him in on Karen Garner. Finch explains that when he first built the machine, the same numbers would come up again and again – nearly always women. Turns out they were living with the person who would eventually kill them. He hasn’t figured out who she really is. Reese is ticked for being left out and wants her address.
Karen is seen climbing in her fire escape, where she is met by Reese who is waiting in her apartment. She pulls a gun on him and he tells her that he knows that she’s running, deduces that she is running from her husband and tells her that he can help her. Finch finds an old address for her and a rent check signed “Sarah Jennings”. Turns out that the marshal that approached Finch is her husband. Reese tells her he will fix things so she’s safe.
February 2011 – Same house that Carter and Donnelly were at in present day. Jessica’s husband leaves the house and Reese is watching. He enters the house and sits at the table, listening to the message she left on his machine, that he heard when he was in the middle east. We see a brief flashback where Jessica is calling Reese and her husband comes in and asks who she was talking to and she lies.
Carter speaks to the medical examiner. He shows her the radiographs from the autopsy -her death was attributed to blunt force head trauma from the accident, but that doesn’t explain other injuries such as a wrist fracture. Carter realizes that her injuries are entirely consistent with the accident (and we see a flashback of Jessica and her husband fighting, with her hitting her head on the kitchen counter), but the medical examiner isn’t too impressed.
Finch investigates Jennings and finds out that he’s been cited for excessive force on the job and apparently he trumped up some criminal charges on his wife, then got all the marshals to basically stalk her. This news pretty much sends Reese over the edge and he goes to the US Marshal’s office to find Jennings and “show him what a real monster looks like”. Reese walks right up to him and beats on him, telling him that he’d better not go near his wife again or he’ll kill him. He then punches another (armed) marshal blocking his exit from building (subtle Reese, subtle).
Karen tries to buy a train ticket and the cashier asks for her photo ID. When he goes to make a phone call, she runs. Unfortunately, two cops intercept her before she can get away. Fusco hears over the radio that she’s been intercepted and calls Finch. Before Finch and Reese can get there, Jennings picks her up. Finch hacks into the government network and is able to track his car’s locator. Once he pinpoints the car, Reese makes him get out of the car and drives off.
Carter and Donnelly interview Jessica’s mother. She was unaware that he was in so much debt. Jessica has mentioned that they were going through a “rough patch”, though, right before the accident. Before they can ask another question, Donnelly gets called away. Turns out a “guy in a suit” assaulted four US Marshals. Donnelly leaves Carter to finish the interview and heads back into the city. Carter calls Finch and he assures her that he has it under control. She tells him that Donnelly hasn’t found anything, but she thinks Peter killed Jessica and covered it up. She asks Finch for more info, but he’s not forthcoming, so she goes back to talking to Jessica’s mother.
Jessica’s mother tells Carter that Peter was much better than Jessica’s usual “type” – she had a fling with a soldier before Peter. She doesn’t remember the soldier’s name, but he was always away on duty. He told her not to wait for him. Carter asks her for pictures, but she has none. However, she offers Carter a box of Jessica’s things to look through. In the box, she finds a picture of Jessica with Reese, both looking incredibly happy. She calls a friend to get the personnel files for soldiers named John stationed at the base near where Jessica used to live.
Flashback 2011- Hairy Reese is thinking of Jessica, we see them meet at an airport and she shows him her engagement ring. We then see him watch Jessica’s wedding video. One candid shot has Jessica and Peter alone, looking rather unhappy. Peter can be heard telling her that she all alone and no one is coming to save her.
Finch calls Reese and asks him about his plan. Reese’s plan is (of course!) to rescue Sarah and take care of Jennings. Finch suggests bringing in the police, but Reese admonishes him telling him that he hired him to do this kind of work and he’s welcome to hire someone else if he doesn’t like his methods. He then severs contact with Finch. Carter calls Finch to touch base, and Finch tells her that he cannot reach Reese or stop him. Finch gives her the coordinates for Reese’s car.
We see Jennings checking into a cheap motel with Sarah (who is handcuffed). He tells her that he wants some alone time with her and kisses her. She asks him to remove the handcuffs and he hits her. He tells her that he loves her, but then holds a gun to her head, and tells her that he can’t do it any more. Just then, Reese busts in, punches Jennings, uncuffs Sarah and tells her to leave. Jennings tells Reese that he’s clearly never been in love or he’d know that it’s never over. Reese responds by punching him right in the face, knocking him unconscious.
Carter is driving alone along a dark road. She sees a car in front of her and pulls it over. It’s Reese. She tells him Finch said that she might find him there. She tries to convince him not to kill Jennings. Reese asks her to trust him to do what needs to be done and then drives off.
2011 – Reese is still watching the video in the dark (apparently at Peter and Jessica’s house). Peter enters and confronts him, asking him who he is. Reese tells him that he was the guy who left Jessica behind. He waxes philosophical for a while while Peter grabs a fire poker. Reese gets out of the chair and heads towards him.
Finch and Reese meet on a bench along the river, a day or two later. Finch hopes Reese understands why he didn’t tell him about the case, but Reese thinks this is exactly why he should have. Reese asks if Jessica was one of the numbers that came up again and again. Finch doesn’t really answer, but tells him that it happened before they started working together, so there is nothing either of them could have done. He hands Reese a business card with an address on it – it is part of his birthday present.
Carter gets a copy of Reese’s military file in the mail. After reading it, she shreds it and the rest of the New Rochelle case file, but keeps the picture of him with Jessica. Just then, her phone rings – it’s a warden at a Mexican prison. A US Marshal (named Jennings) brought one of her fugitives in, along with several kilos of heroin. Carter asks for a description of the marshal and of course it’s Reese. She asks whether there are any other Americans in the prison and he tells her that there are a few others.
Reese takes the key and goes to the address on Finch’s card. He unlocks the door to a huge, furnished (albeit sparsely) loft overlooking the park where he played chess. He gazes out the window and we get a flashback to 2011 – we see Reese again in the hospital, asking about Jessica. As he goes to leave, he brushes by a man in a wheelchair. It’s Finch, and he’s got a folder in his hand with pictures of Reese, Jessica, and Peter. As Reese leaves the hospital, Finch murmurs “I’m sorry”.
Wow! We definitely got some answers this week. Turns out that the Peter that Reese asked Jessica about last week was her husband, not a son as I had thought he might be. We also see that Jessica’s death was a huge part of what lead Reese to his current life. This whole episode was rather dark and it really seemed like Reese was going to go over the line at any minute. It was a big relief to find out that Reese didn’t actually kill Jennings (or Peter, we are lead to believe)as he was a bit scary in this episode. For all his ruthlessness, they have worked all season to give him a heart and I hated the thought of him just killing the men, even if they probably had it coming to them for abusing their wives.
There certainly seems to be something brewing between Carter and Reese. She cuts him a LOT more slack than she would ever have previously and seems very intrigued at his past. She’s even willing to not interfere even when she knows he is probably about to kill Peter, and keeps evidence from Donnelly and everyone else to protect him. All of this behavior is of course a far cry from her moral stance at the beginning of the show. As I’ve mentioned before, the moral ambiguity of what Finch and Reese do every day is part of what makes PoI so fascinating.
The final scene was a really interesting reveal about Finch – he clearly knew about the Reese-Jessica connection way back and knew about her death and about her husband. How did he find out about Reese in the first place? How long had be been watching him, waiting for the opportunity to bring him into the fold? I really need to watch the first few episodes of the series again to see if I can put some of the pieces together.
Go. Do whatever you do when you’re not here - Finch
You don’t know what that is? - Reese
I respect your privacy, John – Finch (how ironic!)
I never pegged you as the cues and booze type – Carter
Once we become predictable, we become vulnerable – Finch